When Elizabeth Tudor comes to the throne, her (male) advisers know she has to marry. Doesn't she? Thus starts a decades-long political/ matrimonial game, during an age of high passions and high achievement.
The Virgin Queen explores the full sweep of Elizabeth's life: from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister's terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley; into her ... See full summary »
After the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey, his secretary, Thomas Cromwell, finds himself amongst the treachery and intrigue of King Henry VIII's court and soon becomes a close advisor to the King, a role fraught with danger.
On his experience filming the series, Eddie Redmayne had this story to tell: "The director, Tom Hooper said "One last thing: Eddie, have you ever been on a horse?" I said "Yes." Cut to Lithuania, two weeks later, a huge Elizabethan street, Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons are standing at this balcony, and there's Tom, cameras, rain machines, 50 Lithuanian extras, spurs attached to my feet, and I'm thinking, "At what point do I tell them that I have never, ever ridden a horse?" It was then that I realized a big part of the cliché of actors lying in auditions is that you should probably try to do the thing you said you can do before filming starts. Anyway, I nearly killed people as the horse galloped off at a hundred miles an hour after I gave it the slightest nudge. Tom came out with his megaphone and shouted, "You're a liar, Redmayne!". See more »
While waiting on the beach to see if the Spanish Armada was about to invade England in 1588, Robert Dudley, first Earl of Leicester, pulled out his telescope to check the flag on a ship that was sailing up the river. The Telescope was invented by Hans Lippershey in 1608. See more »
... the greatest actress of our time portraying the legendary Queen Bess. And, needless to say, Mirren surpasses herself, and in all likelihood Elizabeth I, too. What a treat this series is! The historical aspects were slightly inaccurate, as they must be when 19 years are covered, but only occasionally inaccurate and the film benevolently grants Elizabeth the faithful suitors she may never have had; Alencon seems genuinely interested in the old girl, as does Leicester, and the Essex rebellion was reduced to a spur of the moment undertaking, completely unpremeditated, so as to render the hero, the Earl of Essex, a bit purer than was the actual case.
Almost every quote we know from Elizabeth's reign (even the authentic ones) is in this admirable production. However, the film coquettishly cuts the most famous Elizabeth quote short: when Robert Cecil tells the dying queen that she must go to bed, Mirren only says: "Must?", and does not proceed to say: "Little man, 'must' is not a word to be used to princes". But the 'golden speech' is there, Elizabeth's most famous speech, marvelously punctuated by the Queen looking shrewdly at Cecil while the enthusiastic Parliament applauds, as if to say: "They bought it!"
When I browsed the cast (on IMDb, the moment I saw that the film was on), I was dismayed to find that Shakespeare was not in it, but the Bard is profusely quoted throughout the script (for instance "love is not love which alters when it alteration finds") and his beloved, long-haired patron, the Earl of Essex was truthfully revealed in his shameful betrayal of Essex when push came to shove at the trial. Even Catullus made a brief guest appearance in Latin ("Odi et amo")to set off Elizabeth's doomed love for Essex. But this will be quite enough of me exhibiting my classical education. Let it suffice that this series is an absolute must. I'll buy it as soon as it comes out for sale.
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